Recording in progress.
I showed my story several times. Now. I want to make sure I share it again in terms of how to get clients from zero as a dietician. So I want to say welcome back. And we do discuss a lot of things. A lot of topics about business on this podcast. And in today's episode, I want to share about my story way back. Let's say five, six years ago and what I did and what helped me in terms of how I was able to get clients through service-based work consulting, workshops, speaking. So.
The first thing that I want to share that I did in order to get clients. Was focused on networking. And I know that. Not a lot of you enjoy that word or you have some kind of a negative connotation around the word networking. So let's break down what that means. And in fact, I wish I did even more networking.
So it can be intimidating, especially if you're somebody who's naturally insecure or shy or let's just face it. Maybe you're busy. Right. And you don't feel like going out and meeting new people, but I want to remind you that it's essential to remember that networking is a crucial skill for building relationships and growing your business.
In fact, when you network and build relationships, that's how most businesses start. And that's exactly how I was able to grow my dietician consulting business. So to make the process feel less daunting, you want to focus on building meaningful connections. Rather than solely promoting your business. Right. You don't go ask you don't go out and ask people to marry you.
I'm going to go out and try to, I guess, get a first date metaphorically. Even before that, you're just getting to know people and practice having conversations. About your services as a dietician. Practice building your brand practice, learning how to feel confident speaking, which is a skill it's a, it's a huge skill.
So the more that you can reduce your expectations with networking and not think of it as some big, scary. You didn't chance that your only chance to sell, think of networking as an opportunity to build your skills, kind of like what you did in school. Right? You build your skills. And certain classes, and you're going to build your skills now by talking to people, there's a lot of different ways to do it, but if you can reframe how you approach networking, you might be more likely to stick with it because sticking with networking again, that's how people get business. How I got business.
So, what you can do, tactically is to identify events or groups where your ideal client or industry peers are likely to attend. So I want you to start out by getting a piece of pen and paper and write out a list. You want to come prepared with conversations on these events, conversation, starters, or questions to engage others in meaningful dialogue. And if you feel uncomfortable with that, you can always start small and build up.
Really just showing up to an event is the first step. And then building on that is what you want to do with time. So this is a process. And I've said this before that you want to practice active listening. So you don't go into an event so you can talk the whole time. Are you going to an events you can genuinely get to know people and think about speaking 20% of the time and listening 80% of the time in any conversation. That's a good life skill. I teach that for sales conversations. And I also teach that for networking because if you're talking the whole time, people don't feel heard and seen.
So I want to give other people a chance to explain themselves. And it's just going to take a little bit of practice in terms of how do you have those types of conversations. Oh, you don't want to be afraid to ask for help or advice. And you also want to follow up with people you've connected with and come from a place of seeing how you can help them genuine connection.
So with practice and then persistence in terms of building those relationships, networking is an effective tool for growing your business. And even if you're insecure or introverted, it's something that you can do and it's going to help build those skills. So when you go online, you're more confident having conversations over direct message and even on comments, because you've already had those fluid conversations in person.
You're actually going to be breaking down barriers. When you have those conversations in person. Oh, I'm going to give you some tactical tips in a listicle format. So set realistic goals. So before attending any networking event, you want to set goals for what you want to achieve. So this could be meeting three new people, exchanging, you know, a business card. If you have one or even let's say your social media account, depending on the type of event with two potential clients or learning about a specific topic from a speaker could even just be introducing yourself to two new people.
But having a clear objective can help you feel focused and motivated so you can go home feeling accomplished. And you want to set those goals to be realistic. So we're going to talking about like making 12 sales. All right. What about just talking to three new people who you didn't know previously and then building on those skills? I think just telling yourself you're going to attend an event once a quarter or more than that is a good start.
Second tip would be to be prepared beforehand. So do some research about the particular event, its attendees and potential topics of conversation. And this can help you feel confident and prepared. To engage with others and then make sure that you have either a business cards or that you have your social media.
Accounts on hand. Easy for people to follow so that you can promote your business and your brand. And then the third tip would be to listen actively. So when you're networking, don't just talk about yourself and your business, but focus on actively listening to what others have to say, and then showing genuine interest and pur into their ideas and perspectives. And that can help you build meaningful connections.
So even if somebody doesn't seem directly related to what you do, you can show them the kindness and respect of listening and seeing how you can help them in any way, if you can, and you want to follow up. So after the event, follow up with people that you meet, send a quick email, thanking them for their time.
Time and remind them of your conversation. It could be a quick recap. And I can help you maintain the connection and potentially lead to future business opportunities. And then again, attending regularly. So networking is not a short short-term play is a long-term game. And building relationships takes time, building meaningful relationships with trust, just like building your brand. It takes time. You don't do it with brand colors and a logo. You do it by people trusting.
That what you talk about regularly in the way you talk about it is going to connect with other people. Particularly people who have a problem that you know how to solve. So attending networking events regularly as habit. Is going to help you consistently maintain and expand your network. And it's good practice.
To expand your network and it's going to help you help more people. Ultimately, as, as practitioners, we want to help a lot of people and we want people to not think we're a secret as dieticians. And the only way to do that would be to expand our network. The more you attend, the more likely that you are to develop meaningful connections and gain new business as well.
And then another thing that I did in addition to networking, which was a big part of how I was able to get clients. Is that I diversified my income. So what I did is I worked multiple consulting gigs. So what I did as a reminder of those of you that don't know my story, or it's been a while since I've talked about it. When I was a clinician, I worked as a full-time clinical dietician and I had seven revenue streams.
So I did the nine to five, and then I had a lot of contracts. With different businesses to speak long-term and ongoing built curriculums for interdisciplinary teams. I taught dental residents, nutrition, and I taught pediatric residents nutrition. I also taught medical students about nutrition and I spoke for the 1199 union in New York. I led workshops and I also taught over time.
So we did a lot of work. The only way I would have been able to do all of that is through leveraged income. Meaning it wasn't. I didn't do a bunch of one-on-one. I did a lot of one to many, so I was able to charge a premium. The price, a thousand dollars an hour for my, for my speaking and teaching, because I was able to speak to a larger audience. And so it was how I was able to make so much money as a dietician in my private practice work. While I was working full-time job.
So, how did I get those opportunities will diversifying your income is important because you want to build wealth and you want to reach financial freedom. So having multiple revenue streams, is it best practice? You'll hear that from financial experts, especially to be independent as a woman, as a practitioner, multiple income streams is how you diversify your portfolio. It's important. Most of America lives paycheck to paycheck. So if you can find a way to diversify how you make money, whether that's through buying a property and receiving rental income monies.
Or whether it's through having a, you know, online course or whether it's through doing consulting gigs on the side, it's important to do that. Like how exactly you do that is going to depend on a lot of factors, how you want to maintain work-life balance, but you definitely want to diversify your income streams.
And I've always been a fan of that. I've always done that. And I've been able to do that by networking. So my story of how I got all those gigs. As that I simply put myself out there. So when I was in my nine to five job I was asked once if I would do a 15 minute talk about nutrition, I don't even think it was paid.
I said, will you just talk. You'll kind of does an hour worth of your work it's during your lunchtime, but you can take a longer lunch. So they counted it as my hourly rate. They just said, can you for a unit of your time. Go talk about nutrition, you know, to some event at the hospital, I said, sure. I talked about nutrition and I was prepared for that event. And because I practice my networking.
Skills I went and said hello to people at shook their hand. I handed out information and packages, packets about nutrition. Someone from the audience actually asked me, they thought I was a good speaker. Good enough. And they asked me for another gig and it all cascaded from there. So because I, I was able to present myself in a professional manner and be prepared, exudate hired enough level of confidence.
I kept getting more work. And then I made myself available for workshops. And so I just kept getting referred and referred from department heads and from unions. And just my name got out as somebody who spoke about nutrition and that's really how it all started. And I made an impression. I remember when I got one of my gigs for a longterm contracting work to teach a curriculum I presented for that meeting.
I had an outline of a nutrition curriculum for an entire academic year. And I was very prepared. I had everything formatted and highlighted and I was organized. And the department had said that he hired me because I was prepared. And I think that goes a long way in terms of what could you do if you're not confident?
And if you might not yet have the people skills to talk to people in a way that you feel like you're really listening and holding space and. Building rapport with them. At least you can be prepared. Meaning. If somebody has a question related to a topic, you can find some way to get the answer. If you can't get it on the spot and you can follow up with them, you can always say, Hey, what's your email. Can I get you some information about X, Y, and Z topic later? In the instance where I had a meeting and I was fully prepared, I am a hundred percent confident.
That I got that very high paying long-term gig because I was prepared and I showed a sign that I would be prepared. When they hired me longterm and they kept hiring me year after year on that particular curriculum. Creation and implementation gig. Meaning I created the curriculum and taught it because I was prepared. I'm not saying I was the best or most smartest dietician in the world, but I was always prepared. And they knew that if I, if they had a job for me, or if they had a lecture that I taught, which we talked frequently, they knew I would show up on time.
They knew that I would complete the lecture and they knew that I would follow up with any kind of materials that were needed. For example they wanted me to have an attendance sheet filled out. They just wanted to know I was reliable. And I think that you can show that you're reliable if you are prepared. So I'm a big fan of that. And luckily as dieticians.
It's just kind of like in our blood, right. Most of us are like that. And it's a skill as well that you can learn being prepared and being organized is something that you can learn. So that's really how it worked for me. I flexed my networking skills and I was I had a good presence, a good enough presence where I did one speaking gig and I was a cascade for many others.
I also made myself available. So because I have an entrepreneurial kind of, I guess, tenacity to my personality when I got my nine to five clinical job, I had asked the clinical director manager of the clinic, I said, okay. So I see you have even in clinic here. Is it okay if I work evening three times a week, two times a week. And so she let me come in late. So I started my day at noon and I stayed until 8:00 PM, three days a week. And in doing that, I had the whole morning available to do other work. So I did end up working really long days for half the week, but I, because my I late shifted.
I was able to fill those hours in the morning. Two, three days, it was actually three days a week. I would fill that time in the morning with other work. So that's when I was able to do workshops. I was also able to do over time and I got those opportunities because of my relationship building skills, because I showed up prepared.
I actually did some moonlighting for another clinic and I did so because I met a pediatrician. Who said oh, we don't have a pediatric dietician in this clinic and I was a pediatric dietician. And she said she wanted one. She said, we have a lot of kids that need help, that we want to put in consults. We have no one to send them to. And I said, I happened to have, you know, 9:00 AM to noon. I happen to have this availability a couple of times a week. And I negotiated a rate. I got paid moonlighting, which is not common for a dietician.
But they made it happen because they had a need. I saw the need, I built a relationship. I built trust. I went into that job and I was able to deliver, and that's something that any dietician can do, whether you're at a local hospital or you're at a WIC center, a community center, wherever you're working.
You want to have the skill to be able to find the problems. Identify what that organization or institution needs. In this case, they, I heard straight from the pediatrician's mouth. We need a dietician on staff that we can send consults to. We don't have anyone. We need someone who can be there for, for the children. And I said, well, you know, that can be me.
If the price is right, that can be me. I was paid $50 an hour to Moonlight, which is really good money. I mean, I was taxed a lot of it, but the concept is that I was learning. It doesn't matter because I was learning skills. I was learning how to be valuable. I was learning how to work with multiple, multiple.
You know, different physicians in different clients and energy disciplinary skills. And then that all the gigs I did introduce me. People introduced me to more people mostly because they're like, well, there's this dietician and she actually wants to work. She wants to do stuff she wants to teach. She loves nutrition. I am, I was very passionate about teaching nutrition, nutrition, education. So.
In recap here, how did I get clients? I got clients from from putting myself out there and networking positions and I got clients from being prepared. I got clients from finding opportunities when there wasn't an instruction manual and asking, right. Having the assertiveness to say, Hey, can I work a late shift? Hey, I see you have a gap here. Can I fill it? And not just showing up, you know, haphazardly, but actually really being a person of value.
And you can only do that by asking those questions that I asked, what do you need? What's missing? What does this clinic not have? What can I do? How can I be better? And that is the exact same personality that I have now with my clients. Clients here at dietician boss, we have surveys. What can we do better? We have questionnaires, how can we improve? I do regular conversations with our clients. We have, and our staff too. We have processes and systems in place where we have conversations with them to see what we can improve. And I think that that mindset that's a very entrepreneurial forward thing in terms of how can I be valuable?
How can I be prepared? How can I fill a gap? How can I create an opportunity? And if you're looking to get more clients as a dietician, I want you to leave this episode today with that same question, how can I create opportunities? What can I do to create a networking goal? And how can I listen more actively to build relationships?